by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo
The European Film Festival recently berthed in the city of Abuja, Nigeria. Arts and movie critic Oris Aigbokhaevbolo was there and is reviewing all 21 movies screened at the festival.
A French man moves his family to the wintry, hilly village Chersogno where he intends to start a business herding goats and selling cheese. Chersogno, inhabited mainly by the aged, their offspring apparently move into the city when the chance comes, is at first a welcoming place for the family. Upon their arrival, the villagers in what is their equivalent of a housewarming ceremony, gather to hear Philippe speak and show their goodwill. Soon afterwards though, the new family’s way of life, not to mention the wandering goats, come into conflict with the ultimately conservative people of Chersogno.
Italy’s first film at the European Film Festival, Il Vento fa il suo Giro (The Wind Blows Round) is a somber exploration of strangers and the suspicion they elicit; it is also a depiction of lifestyle clashes – the new family have been seen walking in the nude and this is frowned upon by the villagers. The competent camera handling and awe-inducing landscape elevate the dour cinematography to a thing of subtle beauty.
The script maintains objectivity with the neighbors coming off as sympathetic while they try to cling unto the land of their ancestors. They are wary of a stranger whose lifestyle they see as threat to the lives they have always lived.
For his part, Philippe, who mostly is unassuming and minds his business, is proud and unyielding – when an altercation with one of the locals escalates, he is advised by the mayor, who had a major hand in getting him a land to live and work, to apologize. He refuses, insisting that eating the humble pie will be tantamount to admitting to be a thief. He also refuses to rein his goats in seeing all pasture as suitable for grazing in spite of the warning to stay off private property. Director Giorgio Diritti passes no judgment, as each side is shown to have weaknesses.
Soon, the mayor, whose interest is for mutual understanding and peace to reign is asked to take a side as things degenerate. The audience is welcome to choose which one of the sides it identifies with, bearing in mind that in several states in Nigeria, situations such as this play out regularly to devastatingly violent consequences. Sadly, the victims in real life are humans not goats. And the solution that defuses the tension in The Wind Blows Round, is not particularly practicable in real life at times.
Maybe, a little tolerance will go a long way. But it is never that simple, for as Philippe tells the Mayos, “I don’t like the word tolerant – if you have to tolerate, there’s no equality.”
The man has a point.
Read more from Oris online at www.thepingofpong.wordpress.com